tv Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Testifies on Rural Economy CSPAN May 23, 2017 4:51am-8:07am EDT
how we utilize immigrant labor in this nation. the heart is there, the how to end the process is what we have to figure out but i can tell you trade, labor, regulations 123. >> usta, and ways forward. >> i gave those guys an example of that. we have the wonderful land grant institutions congress - progress man scott talks about we also have technology schools using great processing technology, harvest technology, and reserving technology that makes a lot of sense. we will look at where research dollars go and if it makes sense
without a processing harvesting part of the supply chain, benefit agriculture, in georgia, our land-grant, the university of georgia and core valley state, georgia tech engineering school has a lot of processing and how to make them more efficient and better. those are the things we want to look at to use resource dollars wisely, not just the applied production science, and a safe palatable way to the consumer. >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> i am so glad to see you are the agriculture secretary, everything i read about you is excellent and it is ensuring to me that i always said it to be a prerequisite us secretary of
agriculture should have a are background. you have an excellent track record, i am looking forward to working with you. i represent 35 rural counties, and overwhelming majority of those, and kentucky. we have beef cattle corn and a lot of tobacco. and the previous administration, the fda pushed the proposed rule, nitro or nicotine, smokeless tobacco in levels that can't be achieved. will you use sound scientific data and rulemaking and work with farmers and ranchers to
ensure they are realistic and practical? >> i will. my mantra has been sound science, fact based, data-driven decisions. that is what we hope to do, that is a balance, we view science in a way that sometimes comes from an ideological perspective. we have sound science definition in the eye of the beholder. we have to make sure usta, the we have an agendaless investigation and things that come out without a predetermined conclusion over our scientific discovery and help us lead. i'm not smart enough to create intuitively programs and policies without data, without science, without facts. the agency that promulgated that, doctor tom price and i served in the state senate, with
between delineating fda's role and usta's role, the good news about the president's interagency task force with rural prosperity, with different people, how your rules affect my people and my rules may affect your people in that regard. we want to collaborate in a holistic approach to government in a way i have not seen before, the secretary of the interior, fda, hhs, commerce and energy and those working together, epa administrator, i told scott pruitt my guys are more excited than you are about me. >> that is reassuring and i appreciate that and look forward to working with you on that.
the fda proposed rule invites usta pursuant to the tobacco control act to submit an economic impact statement on growers, the usda intends to do that? >> if that is what the requirement is i am not knowledgeable specifically about that. we will get to specifics on it but that is what we are asked to do. our economists will talk about that. we need to look at risk rewards on here irrespective of how we feel about tobacco. my father convinced me it was unhealthy when i was in sixth grade unless we know it is an industry that is important. >> thank you. one quick question. when i'm in kentucky one question that comes up is when will we have a director, do you have any idea of a timeline for directors? >> i would love to say as soon
as possible. we are collating and collecting all those names. you are helping to recommend who those people are because you know the people in your state better than we do but as i roll those out as soon as possible we understand those state offices and rural development, we need those as quickly as possible. we will do it as expeditiously as we can. >> i will close with this. my time is about out. when we had two new crops on line, and another one which you may not be with industrial help. after the last farm bill, kentucky had a program that was a great success. i'm working with the house to advance policies to grow on that and bring industrial hemp
forwards as a legal viable commodity, i look forward to working with you and the usda to find a reasonable responsible path forward -- >> industrial hemp, we got to figure out policies, route in that way. time is expired. >> thank you, secretary, for being here today. mister kelly brought up the issue of cotton, a number of times today. and without making sure we highlighted some of the best in the world and my farmers are having the same problems that were expressed across the committee. the other issue with a lot of them is they have to pass farm
sensitive children with conditions that might not allow that to occur and the immigration issue was brought up in each of the roundtables i had with the agriculture committee. getting to a couple other issues, technology, so critical in rural arizona. my district is 1000 mi. smaller. i have a lot of things, a lot of negative native american tribes and issues, the largest in land mass in the country. we won't be able to compete without broadband but high-capacity broadband. outside rural areas, and opportunity for knowledge-based economy. real concern, rural economic development. the water and infrastructure
i proposed a budget. what the budget was going to be, and i understand that really well. and with constituents, what they need to be replaced and my commitment to you is whatever comes out of that. and i trust that you will, i am an administrator, what the president's budget is next week, you have your shot at it, whatever you determine, get as much valuable from that is you possibly can. >> my constituents expects leadership, and to find that
leadership with capabilities to do that leadership. i look forward to working with you on these issues. and dealt with forest fires, takes a huge amount of money for ongoing maintenance force and preventative issues to help us out. maintaining critical natural resources and identifying the need for the impact of forest fires. >> we want to get the budget corrected and not being upside down as soon as possible. they are in a different section with tag appropriators but working with them, in the house and senate side to get
corrected. renewable resources, a great asset out here in the forest service that are to be productive, and the goal is to get the forest service in the prevention business and not the suppression business, the prevention means economic activity. and the money to restore roads and loggers can get in here and get that out, do some regulatory work over getting the litigation issues out, the ultimate goal is to be good neighbors. i would like the us forest service, across the land. the big challenge, and maybe
policywise getting forest fires treated like natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes is one part of the solution, a challenge i look forward to and i hope in two or three years there will be a more re-renewed -- renewable forest service than we have now. >> mister secretary, welcome. on behalf of hard-working farmers and ranchers, welcome. as congressman lucas mentioned kansas has faced more than a fair share of disasters, early in march, 600,000 acres of grass, 10,000 head of cattle and hundreds of miles of fence to the biggest wildfire on record. we thought we had enough and in mother nature gave us 15 to 20
inches of snow. disasters like these are prime examples of a strong farm safety net. i appreciate your department, and every one of them. and the payment limits on the average side, the most limits are statute and interested what authority the usda might have to modify, a primary program produces are used for the watering facilities destroyed by the fire, 10,000 a mile making $200,000 payment limit, major barriers of families trying to recover. the forest restoration program, $500,000 will go a long way to
rebuild. >> whenever you see these tragedies it is heartbreaking to know these are people, families, their livelihoods and what it matters. most of it is statutory regarding those limits and i assure you we will use the resources of usda. i appreciate your comments, how quickly that was done. all these times programs, governments here to help you. it is 18 months later and they are out of business so i appreciate the work of the fsa people on the grounds, those are fencing and livestock replacement and others. there are limits, that is your belly week to address. pcp programs, my understanding is we exhausted the revenue in that as well and i will commit to you any flexibility to
restore these people and mitigate their loss. >> thank you, mister secretary. we are excited about your tone on trade, a critical step. i went to echo we have successful record access programming. and i want to accentuate what government is doing, several of us have authored a create act which will help fund that even further. in the meantime, based on your words, you will be a champion for these programs as well and i am sure you are familiar with them. what can we do in congress to help you do your job better and promote trade. what do you need to work side-by-side? >> i have some ideas but we are formulating them. i am not prepared to go there this morning but i can assure
you when the budget comes around, specific requests over that, looking at the barriers like international trade, the ability to have the undersecretary portrayed, one step we can go and travel and be on the doorstep knocking on the door, what can we say today? we will have better as we get into it, better idea of specific areas we need help in ends we will not be bashful about asking for it. >> in all your jobs you are familiar with the market access program and foreign market development. what your assessment is, you are very early so i apologize about that process. >> that is one area where the
foreign agricultural service, acting deputy secretary now has been immensely helpful in the negotiations and secretary of commerce would love to hire him. he is really helpful, he has been like a right arm for them and help them understand these markets on trade. i am proud that we have people like that, career people who understand that, know that market access program and helping people in the ams, really important. i will have more specific ideas about the needs >> thank you for being here and congratulations on your confirmation. we are pleased to have you working with us on the issue of
agriculture. first, of course, i have to touch on a local issue since i only have five minutes, make sure i take care of my people first. >> that is what representative government is about. >> everyone has invited you to the district but i have the best district to invite you to the virgin islands. we extended that invitation as well. with your additional responsibilities i am sure you need a field trip to the virgin islands more than ever. mister secretary, one of the things our local farmers are concerned with them i spoke to the commission of agriculture about this. the usda has many offices that service the virgin islands but do so not in the islands themselves. for example the farm service agency supports it is funded and administers through florida and the nrc services depend on the
usda staff housed in puerto rico. that is of particular concern because we have a growing burgeoning agriculture sector and we want our farmers to have the technical support that is needed. we rely heavily on staff from puerto rico to travel to the virgin islands to provide that assistance and we have had problems getting them to come to the virgin islands due to travel restrictions, budget shortages, for example, one of the key irrigation engineers have not been in the virgin islands in over two years and others have not been to the island of st. thomas in three years. if an rcs's puerto rico budget is cut the virgin islands stands to be set back further from where we are in our rural economy and rural growth and i am asking for a commitment from you in your office to work with me in local agriculture office for deficiencies and where we can meet the needs of access to
usda services for our farmers and cooperative extension services at our university which does an amazing job but also lacks support. i would love to fall on you and those within your office for your assistance. >> i hope we can do more about the specific issues and continue to come and assess that and i can't commit to redeploying assets without knowing where they are currently and i can assure you that the burgeoning agriculture in the virgin islands is just as important as puerto rico or other places and technical expertise, the irrigation and other things we look forward to providing. i would love to get more specific information about those specific needs and look at deploying a team to hear from your people about how we can do
a better job. >> there has been much discussion about rural development and where it was administered. if you say the assistant secretary dealing with rural development, it will be a senate confirmed, will that be below the undersecretary or reporting directly to you? how would that structurally be? >> good question. and assistant secretary would be a direct report to me, manage the three mission areas of rural development of utilities and community facilities, water and other areas, they will report to her. they will not be reporting to an undersecretary. the reason i wanted to elevate that was as i indicated earlier i don't consider myself a micromanager but i consider
myself a hands-on manager. the ability to provide a lot of leverage, a lot of resources to communities with frankly a good deal to american taxpayers. and most of these cases i'm impressed with banking experience of rural development people. i am just curious enough and jealous enough i wanted to be involved in that and that was the best way i knew to do that. >> have other areas outside rural development? >> just sat rural development piece, that is a big chunk, i will be there assistant. >> when we talk about the minority leader in the senate, talking about broadband deployment and under the senate proposal rural broadband funding will be available to projects
currently eligible under existing programs in the department of agriculture. if your office is advocating supplemental rule program in the infrastructure package do you see where we can support that? >> as indicated in the infrastructure meeting rural broadband is at the top of the list, inland waterways, ports, they know broadband enhances economic development, the connectivity in rural areas, the executive order signed in prosperity, just as important as roads, water, sewer and other things. >> thank you, mister chairman. in looking forward to the
leadership. a good way to grow up. >> the economic is trade. soybean trade and beef cattle for and against, with prices 50% and demand, the best thing we can do is open those doors in china and japan, perhaps great britain, a trade deal with them, and statements whether it be nafta, tpp and so forth and there is a commitment to bilateral trade but can you give some confidence that our
administration, the importance of agriculture and trade of the agriculture products overseas. >> the decision on that, knowing nafta is very important to nebraska, the middle part of the country, agriculture has benefited from that nafta agreement as well as the agreement with china, you grow a few cows in nebraska and they will benefit from openings at market as well. hopefully we are on the way and we are only just beginning. i take him at his word on that. a lot of things we do very well. i hope we can get those things done as well. i am an outcome kind of guy. show me rather than tell me. hopefully we will show. >> that is the number one
economic issue for nebraska. the issue for cattle blue and court producers, thank you for your commitment today saying you want the safety plan in place. i hear a lot about from cattlemen or pork producers. considering the stamp program, about 100 different employers come in the omaha area, their top concern is hiring full-time employees and part-time requests, and important roles with the full-time work, and many of them think a lot of the programs, if you are in a certain amount, you lose your process and they would like to see a more papered decline as you earn. do you think the stamp program has them built in or do you do more work to ensure more gradual
decline as you earn more, what is that? >> that is a good point. many people talked about that. net benefits are not that large anyway, in georgia we tried to get people a step out with using resources overtraining and transportation and childcare to get a job. i welcome consideration of care, the pathway down rather than jumping off the cliff. it is more encouraging for people looking for work, we have some anecdotes, people not willing to take a job because they lose benefits. a tiered approach would make more sense. >> three different roundtables, 100 employers and the consensus they are issuing on the urban
area. i appreciate your consideration. this committee and i look forward to working with you. tremendous impact in our state and thank you for your leadership. >> thank you, mister chairman. i want to get back to hbc yous, 20 years on campus, we have a unique relationship for the land-grant. and other legislation to focus on things to help prepare these
universities, which in many places for the economic engines in the community. one issue i want to raise today is the funding from grants in usda, in 1890 institution, 1862 in north carolina in the state, and so north carolina state university well above a match from the general assembly, we see 0.8-1 in funding that meets the federal matching requirements. my understanding is state have to submit a work plan outlining how we use the funding they
received from usda from the estate. what you support the community disclosing how much total funding the 1862s received to determine which state government will match the federal commitment and hold them accountable for the level of funding provided the land-grant schools? >> constituency has done a good job promoting their issue to the president and i heard his commitment as well in usda's perspective, we believe in transparency. if you are going to be fact-based, data-driven, you let people know what facts and data you are making decisions on. we would be happy to disclose that. it is every person's right to know. >> let me ask a question about
snap. as we approach the next farm bill, continuous discussions from key congressional leaders authorized separately from the farm bill. do you support a 5-year farm bill that includes snap programs and does not convert s.n.a.p. to another program? >> it would be unwise for congress to promote a separate farm bill without s.n.a.p. included. i think the coalition between advocates for food nutrition and agriculture is a strong coalition to do that. >> i support that. hurricane matthew was devastating to north carolina last fall, in 2015, what is the status of proposed changes by
the risk management agency for the quality loss adjustment in cotton? >> that is one of the areas i missed the mark on, 17 contracts are issued and can't change is that. that is an insurance project and other people's money, my voice will be heard in the 18 contract by quality loss. cotton being treated by degradation of quality. >> one last point. and economy for economic growth, like charlotte, represent charlotte, should we be re-expected for rule programs specifically those that promote food access. >> i missed that. >> should we expect additional cuts in rules programs
specifically those that promote food assets? >> i hope not. >> i yield back. >> my grandmother's name was ellen. >> good woman. >> thank you, mister chairman, governor, congratulations, look forward to working with you. i represent the district in upstate new york in hudson valley in the catskills from hyde park to cooperstown, vermont to pennsylvania to large rural area and i appreciate your nomination and confirmation and hope you won't forget places like upstate new york. folks in other parts of the country think new york and they think new york city and durban, we have a lot of rural areas.
>> beautiful upstate. >> your agency has been helpful on certain flood mitigation projects and rehab projects with the natural conservation service and your recent issuance of a guideline on nutrition, allowing flavored milk and school and lunch programs, finally important part of the country where dairy farmers look perplexed at the fact the usda will restrict certain milk products in school lunch programs. i always thought it was unusual the same usda that says you can't sell whole milk or flavored milk or have it in a lunch program allows us to purchase $3 billion worth of soda in the s.n.a.p. program. i have yet to hear someone say soda has a nutritional benefit yet we do that.
the thing my farmers, apple growers keep raising, difficulty, the seasonal agriculture workers into the country, there are a lot of complaints about the time and effort and expense dealing with the labor department, i wonder if you have an opinion how to expedite these visas and that process. my farmers trying to harvest apples in the fall this year are not going to be able, alluded to previously, it is vital to bring agricultural workers experience and knowledge. >> i would be happy to.
through my briefing here, and we are familiar, a lot of utilizations in georgia and i know from growers it has become more burdensome and more expensive to comply with that. the person i mentioned earlier that i hired with farm labor experience, look at the programs, the vehicle before we can get a broader farm labor resolution, and administration end you all some ideas on a regulatory perspective how we can streamline h 2 a to be a
more dependable source, to those crops. >> this is truly vital and i talked to an apple grower in my area in columbia county, the prospects of a great harvest this year. and to harvest this problem, it will be for not. i hope you will take this back to the administration, it is slightly important to have a stream of workers, and seasonal task that is critical for the economy, across the country. >> bless the president's hard and continue to be very strong
advocates of that. >> if we can remind folks in washington dc september and october just around the corner, we need these workers here in this country, we can't wait until the last minute, give certainty to farmers, and governor of georgia and service to the country, thank you so much. >> thank you for your service to the country. i find this to be one of the bipartisan committees, and so many things my colleagues mentioned on both sides of the aisle i echo in my district. i want to focus in. in the skinny budget, 21%
funding reduction to usda, a lot of participation has been taken up by that. in particular, one program was eliminated that has been very effective in northern new england, the name of that is the northern border regional commission. are you familiar with that, mister secretary? >> the restoration projects. >> funding, in my district, communities do in conjunction with rural development funding, it is a grant program for primarily economic development, represent the northern part of my district, a region that was heavily dependent on paper mills, furniture, manufacturing that left the area. to give a sense of firmer growth, very small town called
northumberland, received funding from northern border commission to repurpose the mill into an industrial park attracting new manufacturing jobs. many of them companies from canada moving to the united states to make products in america and help the middle class make it in america. i would ask you, talk to your team about the northern border regional commission and support funding, the leveraging impact alone is extraordinary, looking at the awards in 2016, $1.8 million awarded, $19.5 million in matching funds. a small amount of money goes along way, you are frugal with our tax dollars as i am.
>> i didn't recognize the name but it is similar to what was in the south of the appellation region, very involved, i chair that part of the issue and how good it has done in that area, but it looks like similar commissions, very similar with it. what states are impacted? >> maine, new hampshire, vermont and new york state. >> i'm family with the good that can be done in these commissions. >> it has been an incredible program so i urge your support. i wanted to focus on continuing that line on usda rural development programs. i know in my briefing that this
is being moved around in your organization and i won't spend a lot of time on it because of two other questions but i would urge you that the rural development program is critical and right now, i am bipartisan cochair of the heroine task force, 85 members of congress working in a bipartisan way, rural america is being slammed by loss of manufacturing jobs, influx of heroin and opioids and you cannot do without economic development, healthcare, all of the different types of development including an amendment i was able to get on the farm bill that those can be used for community colleges. i can get to you because my time
is very limited. organic livestock and poultry practices rule signed by 375 organic dairy and poultry producers representing $2 billion in sales, we made great progress in the last farm bill, in a bipartisan way i hope we can move quickly. >> the question? >> i hope we can work with people in the farm bill in support of organic trade. >> it has been a great consumer win for a lot of people, smaller organic farmers giving them an opportunity to get in the marketplace and sometimes we may see an issue, making sure they are certified, being crowded out with larger operations as well. >> i want to submit that letter for the record.
thank you very much. >> mister arrington. >> congratulations on a distinguished career in public service. thank you for your willingness to serve our country and make the sacrifice, i noticed you have 14 grandchildren so you have other things you could do so thanks for choosing to continue to be the chief advocate for the ag industry. proud of our president who has put the philosophy, overarching philosophy on decision making of americafirst. american manufacturers, producers. giving my colleague a hard time in the hallway. if the secretary enjoys the virgin islands he will love west texas. and ocean of cotton out there. thank you for being so gracious about taking my call the other day.
i will repeat some things. it is life and death for my region. that is our cotton producers. in west texas, agriculture is, our identity, cotton is king. all ag producers are struggling for all the reasons you already know but cotton is the only commodity out of title i, completely exposed to the market risks and volatility and market manipulation from china and others and it is a crisis and i'm asking and pleading, move with the speed of the crisis, our economy, it is devastating, devastating.
one of the most sobering and enlightening experiences, we had a panel here, i asked the question, if you use the same rationale the world trade organization, could you use the same rationale, the commodities using the same rationale that would ultimately absorb the wheat, the answer was unequivocally less. someone could make the same case on supporting commodities in this country and cause us to pull them from that. if we don't do that while commodities we should not do it more. i apologize because i had another hearing. i would like to hear your thoughts about cotton and
devastation and the crisis and what you can do and i know there are different avenues and i employ you to look at all strategies to save cotton production as we know it. >> i told you on the phone we are well aware of that. best thing, we continue cotton prices upward. that is the ultimate solution. supply and demand improving with more consumption, those are good news but that did not negate the fact that producers already hurting. as i understand it was a decision among the integrated cotton industry based on the fto adjudication earlier is that they would prefer not to poke that in the eye regarding being
in title i. the stax program was not as successful as congress hoped it would be and that brought some issues. the disappointing part is final deliberations of the budget reconciliation bill limited my options severely. i will commit that in the statutory authority, budgetary authority, i will do everything i can. the problem is i don't want to give false hope because those options are limited and we talk about those. >> if i achieve anything as representative of district 19 i hope it is working with you to find relief from cotton farmers and equity in the treatment of cotton is a commodity relative to the others, in texas, to the
china opening of their markets, can you comment on that? i yield back, mister chairman. >> go ahead. obviously optimistic and excited about heading back into china. that is important, texas as well and much of the southwest. we don't want to exalt too much, we have some work to do from our protocol perspective and technical but i believe we and they are very serious about this and we will do the victory dance hopefully pretty soon. >> mister davis. >> welcome, mister secretary. there is never any geographical turf battle when it comes to agriculture but as someone from the midwest i have heard nothing
but compliments about your appointment as secretary of agriculture. your experience, what you can bring is beneficial for agriculture as a whole. i want to say thanks again and is subcommittee chairman of the horticulture and research subcommittee, especially interested in research title and others we deal with. the land-grant university, the university of illinois, and state university to rely upon a robustly funded research program. the research will save us costs especially when it comes to agriculture. the 2018 budget blueprint indicates farmer focused
research partnerships at land-grant universities and $350 million and indicates the ag research service funding should be focused on high priority agriculture and other issues. i know my colleague dustin scott and jimmy panetta mentioned ag research, can you expand on your responses there and give more perspective. >> also aware, the transfer and basic research, and other parts of the nation in other parts of the nation, we produced our way
into a surplus, we are suppressing prices and got to sell it. the fact is we can't stop research, by 2050, insurmountable if we don't have the new technology, to feed a hungry world. we are going to be an advocate for research, applied research, best practices on the field, to help preserve the environment, don't know how else to expand on it, a product of public education from high school to the public land-grant university. i'm a big believer. >> you have been here a long time. we shuttled back and forth between two different hearings today and you answered every question and how difficult it
is. i appreciate your candor. you mentioned biotech. the subcommittee has jurisdiction, technology improved in the united states but not nationally. we face serious risk and uncertainty in agriculture in the global market. that sometimes prevent some of my farmers in illinois from gaining access. the administration detailed the priorities in the 100 day action plan and it contained a commitment to review pending agricultural biotechnologies and in many of these applications waiting for five years. china is held accountable and review these products. >> working out these issues,
with clear incentives in that, demonstrating science that confirms these are safe products. for our assurance producers can have that these are exportable and won't be embargoed or denied because into some markets, when you get that done we can persuade other markets over safety and efficacy of these products into the food chain supply. >> i look forward to addressing these issues, very concerned about the administrator at the rm a, i yield back. >> thank you, mister chairman,
secretary, congratulations, sitting at this table. we go way back with you in georgia, working in the business within small business environment. we like a challenge. and georgia lost in 2008, 360,000 jobs, in the home building industry, 41 things. a critically economic time in georgia. we have an agriculture today, georgia has been named the best state to locate your business four years in a row and had a growth of 500,000 jobs and because of your leadership that
is why georgia is where we are today. we have a number of challenges, we talked about that but you are up to the challenge, had a good time at the airport when you were waiting for a flight to talk about why we were doing this. i have 12 grandchildren so i know what you are missing and i may get 14, i don't know. i know the great sacrifice you are making and you, like me, are still in the business. you have to have good folks back home taking care of that. thank you for what you are doing for this country. agriculture, to talk about the 12th district, we can't have business without cotton. one is totally dependent on the other. we have a great program, everybody likes the program.
we have nothing in cotton and we have some challenges that you know well. i don't need to -- we talked about that at length today. thank you for your help as far as the freeze with our blueberry crop and also the storm damage we had in the usga and talked about the importance of broadband and probably similar in every district. one thing i thought i might share with you was a couple things our office has been working on, the barn act, removing the h 2 a program from the department of agriculture and you might comment on that as far as what your thoughts are and we also introduced legislation on the lotus rule, although the president has rescinded that, we want to codify that in law because that
lies understood, law is understood. the thing i observed, that i didn't realize. you walk across the grocery store it is like turning on a light switch, you expect food to be there. we have this tremendous tension in the country between metro, urban and rural areas particularly among taxpayers when it comes to the -- helping our farmers to sustain our farms. we have the farm bill coming up. always contentious. it divides a lot of the country and from an education standpoint people need to understand that that food just doesn't appear and that quality of food doesn't appear. the strides this country has made in what we have done in
agriculture is enormous and frankly the farmers have very little influence because it is such a small part of the population. 100 years ago 90% of the population, today we are to present. thank you for taking on this challenge. >> appreciate your patience in sitting here and listening to conversations with all these things that are important, certainly trade is important, you mentioned the difference between the different programs, we have to address that in the next farm bill, food safety, all those things are important, this is an awesome opportunity we are looking forward to and you represent a lot of educational opportunities in your district and make sure that research continues. ..
can we do better? yes. will we do better? yes. >> thank you. please know that you have my full support any way that i can help you be glad to do it. i yield back. >> gentleman's time expired. five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and, secretary, it is an honor to have you here and i'm lucky to have a gracious chairman who makes sure i always have an opportunity to weigh in and i'm grateful for that. >> thank you. >> thank you. i want to talk about a bill and an issue. the issue is lunch shaming. it has gotten a lot of national attention, mr. secretary. this may be something you're
already aware of. last week i introduced a bill in congress with my colleague and good friend, chairman of the biotech subcommittee, rodney davis, and i'm the ranking member. we have great opportunity to bork together. in a nutshell it is getting at schools who are having trouble clearly with a number of students whose families can't afford the lunch and instead of figuring that out, and working with the parent and working with programs and making sure it is a snap benefit, whatever else it is, many districts around the country engage in lunch shaming. which means they throw away those lunches forethose kids. they -- in a minute, actually right now, we've got an article, mr. chairman, in "the new york times" and a photo of a stamp place on one such student's arm that says, i need
lunch money. school was stamping all of these kids. i would move we put this into the record, mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> there are other and very similar, very draconian practices around the country. new mexico is the first state in the country to ban lunch shaming at a state level. i certainly want to ban lunch shaming at a federal level. and given that i know that your desire, based on your earlier testimony, even though i wasn't in the hearing, paying attention to the hearing, thank you, you're concerned about poor americans, making sure the snap program is available. looking at strategies that shore those up and others. i'm interested in what your personal opinion is and or known about lunch shaming in this country. >> i would be very have had, congresswoman, work with you over maybe some technology we can help with our lunch programs around the country to figure out
how the reasonable expectation of payment versus inability to pay could be dealt with, rather than confronting kids in a line or, else humiliating them in some way. middle school is tough enough as it is. but we want to make sure our adults, those in authority, particularly are not contributing to those issues in that way. i don't know if there is technological answer or what the ultimate answer is to balance the, again expectation of, whatever contribution is, rather than being confronted in a public way in a shaming or a humiliating way to do that. >> i don't know whether there is direct authority at usda i would encourage you to look at it. i would love to have the department support on the lunch shaming bill. i don't disagree making sure schools are a better equipped look what their lunch program
costs, look at what is occurring with families that aren't paying, can't afford, which is a combination but to make it the student's problem, do two things, two things occur in this environment that are very troubling to me. one, that you would force these kids to work in the cafeteria. you would throw away the food. you would stamp them, kids are poor and don't give them a lunch. both things happen to kids in school. there seems to be no reason to allow any school to make this a problem of the child. we're just creating more problems in our school system. i understand that we got to deal with the money aspects, i agree with you, that seems to be completely and entirely separate. what is really shocking for me is that it is such a prevalent problem. i'm embarassed to admit to my colleagues in this committee, in addition to my own state engaged
in lunch shaming, i had no idea its with a national phenomenon. part of it is we're so strict making sure schools account for the lunch program in a way, instead of dealing with parents, finding creative solutions they feel perfectly justified in treating their students in this way. in fact it has led to the loss of jobs where food workers have refused to come to work and quit because they were, they were told they have to lunch shame. i would love a partnership to say we're not going to stand for that as a country. >> no respect of persons, motto of do good and feed everyone. i think that also means you treat everyone with respect irrespective of their ability, their economic ability, how we figure out direction to our lunchroom professionals over technology of things that work, i would welcome the opportunity to work with you on solutions about that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i yield back. >>